Something that has always fascinated me is the concept of “movements.” Not necessarily the physical ones (though I have always found dance to a massively moving art), but more so the figurative ones. More specifically, “cultural” movements.
If you’ve read any handful of interviews on the site before, you’ll know that I have referenced Lizzy Goodman’s 2017 book Meet Me in the Bathroom a number of times. The book chronicles the post-pop, early 2000s indie rock revolution of New York, and more specifically Brooklyn. It’s an era in which rich kids descended upon New York’s “hippest” borough and made it “New York’s hippest borough.”
I’m talking The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, LCD Soundsystem, The National, Grizzly Bear, Vampire Weekend - the list is considerably vast. It’s with a fair certainty that I can assume that the majority of folks you might listen to nowadays came out of that “movement.” Sure, Brooklyn’s “movement” is sexy, and even iconic, but it’s largely overblown.
There’s a high level of homogeneity within that “movement” that just so happened to take off and eventually cement itself as folk legend. We could sit here and argue it’s merit in perpetuity, but I’m almost certain neither of us would have the patience, especially around the Holidays (unless your overly political uncle continues to drone on about draining swamps, then let’s do a deep dive on the indie rock explosion of the 2000s - email here).
Anyway, what I’m getting at in a very roundabout way is that the indie rock explosion of the 2000s obfuscated a similarly prophetic tastemaking movement - the Pacific Northwest’s explosion of indie-folk deities. It’s a movement of which I would argue is far more pervasive in today’s popular music than the 2000s indie rock movement would have ever dreamed to be. And one of the figureheads of said movement is none other than recent Exit/In passers-thru, Blitzen Trapper.
Originally, Blitzen Trapper existed as “Garmonbozia,” until front-man Eric Earley changed the name to the more familiar Blitzen Trapper, supposedly after a former girlfriend with a trapper keeper and affinity toward the Yule Tide. Anyway, Blitzen Trapper was one of many in the first wave of “big time” Sub Pop successes, particularly in 2008, when they released Furr. The record featured the band’s two most beloved singles (for now), “Furr” and “Black River Killer.”
History lesson aside, it can be difficult (presumably) for bands that lead to massive musical watershed movements to continue on with the same degree of success as their conception shattering albums, but judging from the crowd at Blitzen Trapper’s Nashville set, they’ve figured it out.
Touring in support of the surprisingly sublime Wild and Reckless, Blitzen Trapper managed to put on a show of equal nostalgia fancy and new jam-heavy tunes. Things could go from woozy to sentimental to punchy at any given moment. In all honesty, it was one of the most stimulating shows in a while, as far as fully not knowing what’s to come with each turn of the set.
So be sure to do your due diligence and dive into the excellent discography of Blitzen Trapper in order to better understand a criminally underrated band that helped spearhead an understated musical movement. Furthermore, get and see Blitzen Trapper on tour to witness - as Earley put it - “That one song that was playing when you met your wife. Or helped you through a hard time in high school. Or whatever. I’ve heard a lot of weird shit with these songs, but we appreciate it always.”